What is a post-graduation work permit (PGWP)?

What is a post-graduation work permit program (PGWPP)?

The PGWP is a program that allows students who have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution to obtain work experience. It also helps students to continue in Canada and work full-time after terminating their program of at least 8 months. The PGWP has a duration of up to 3 years depending on the length of the program finished.

When are you eligible to apply?

You have up to 180 days to apply after you have received your diploma, transcript or letter from your institution. Your study permit must be valid during this time as well in order to apply. Also, some of the requirements in order to be eligible to apply are:

  • Have completed a study program of at least 8 months at a designated learning institution (DLIs) that leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate
  • Have maintained full-time status as a student during each semester of your program
  • Graduate from a public or private post-secondary institution that can award degrees under provincial law

Have in mind that there are some people that can be in the ‘special cases‘ of the Canadian Government and might have exceptions depending on their situation. If you want more details of eligibility to apply, please go to the Canadian Government website.

When can you apply for the post-graduate work permit?

You can apply for the PGWP when your official letter of completion is ready by your institution, which will help to confirm that you meet all the program requirements and you are done with the entire program.

Keep in mind that your letter of completion might be ready on different dates from your diploma, degree and graduation.

How do I apply for a post-graduate work permit?

You can apply online as most people do, however, there is a way to apply by mail as well. There is a payment of two fees at the moment you apply:

  • The post-graduation work permit fee is CND $155
  • The open work permit holder fee is CND $100

Is important to apply before your study permit expires and within 90 days after your letter of completion gets available. You will be able to remain in Canada while waiting for the decision on the PGWP. Remember to continue following the requirements and conditions that you are under in your student permit.

In case your study permit expires before you are able to apply to the PGWP, you need to restore your status as a student, apply for a visitor record to stay in Canada longer, or leave Canada and apply for the PGWP outside the country. Remember that you cannot work until your study permit and work permit are approved.

Can I apply for a job before I get my post-graduation work permit?

Yes, but only if you were a full-time student at a designated learning institution, already completed your program of study and did not surpass the number of hours of work on and off-campus. If the Canadian Government refuses the PGWP then you have to stop working immediately.

Can I work while waiting for my post-graduation work permit?

If you are eligible to work before your final term is over, you can remain working 20 hours per week off-campus or full-time on campus until you wait for your official letter of completion to be ready. However, when your official letter is ready, you are not allowed to work for any reason.

You can work full-time while waiting for the PGWP if you have a valid study permit, had completed your program of study, were eligible to work off-campus without a permit, and did not work off-campus over 20 hours a week during academic sessions.

Can I travel outside Canada and come back with my student visa while waiting for my PGWP?

You can always come back to Canada as long as you have valid your visa or travel authorization. The permits such as study or work permit are not visas and for that reason, it does not let you travel back to Canada.

If for any reason your visa expires before you get to return to Canada, you will have to apply for a new one from the country you are in at the time. Depending on the permits that you have, when you enter back to Canada if you:

  • Have valid your study permit, you will enter as a student
  • Have approved the PGWP while being away, you will enter as a worker
  • If your PGWP is still being processed, you will enter as a visitor, but you can work while waiting for it

For more information regarding the PGWP please go to the Canadian Government website. If you need more information regarding the process and help with the documents that Acsenda provides when going through the PGWP application, please contact us.